HomeReviewsFictionReview: Outlawed

Review: Outlawed

Outlawed book cover

Title: Outlawed
Author: Anna North
Genre: Literary Fiction, Dystopian
Page Count: 272
Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date Published: January 5, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Synopsis

1894, in a small town in the Powder River Valley, seventeen-year-old Ada’s life is fairly happy. Recently married and helping her midwife mother deliver babies and heal the sick, Ada eagerly awaits the day she too will become a mother. But when one year passes and she still cannot conceive, Ada’s life is in jeopardy, for here barren women are hung as witches.

Escaping her fate at the gallows, Ada joins the Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws with similar histories. Their leader, known as “The Kid”, is determined to provide a safe refuge for outcast women and dreams of expanding their small group. But to do this, they need capital, and together they hatch a dangerous scheme to rob the bank of a large ranch tycoon – a scheme that will either be their freedom or leave them all dead.

Overall Thoughts

There is much debate over whether Outlawed is dystopian or historical fiction, and I myself was confused. I think where the hangup lies is the misconception that a dystopian novel has to be future based. Apparently, it doesn’t. Anna North’s Outlawed paints a dystopian-esque reimagining of the Western frontier circa the late 19th Century in which barren women were hung as witches. Truth is, most of us buy this as historical fact because, well, humanity is cruel and women were hung as witches for much less … so it can be confusing. Why I belabour this point is because understanding this as dystopian rather than historical fiction really changes the overall perspective and experience of the novel.

For such a small novel, Outlawed packs a mighty punch. It is a gut wrenchingly fierce tale that will hit you in the solar plexus much like a Margaret Atwood story. A gender swapped, reimagined wild Western set around an all girl gang of feminist vigilantes trying to carve justice in a man’s world is everything I’m looking for in my book picks. Anna North writes with a confident pen – never hurried or worried about page count – her story is deliberately told with a slow, steady pace expertly depicting her setting. The inclusion explored here of gender norms, gender identity, sexual preference and race is so wonderfully nestled in this genre that, to my knowledge, hasn’t really explored these topics and makes this such a wholly unique reading experience. My sole complaint is I wanted more from this girl gang – I wanted to know more of each girl’s story and have a clearer picture of each woman. Whether that is enough to draw away from the whole, I’m not entirely sure. Overall, this is a uniquely enjoyable novel for those who like slowly paced narratives and open endings … but I do wish more of my questions had been answered.

You may also like:

The Giver of Stars book coverThe Giver of Stars

Written by Jojo Moyes

Published by Pamela Dorman Books

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

 

 

Where the Crawdads Sing book cover

Where the Crawdads Sing

Written by Delia Owens

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

 

 

The Mercies book coverThe Mercies

Written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Published by Little, Brown and Company

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Cheryl
Cherylhttps://www.aotales.com
Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.
RELATED ARTICLES

Newest Articles

Holiday Reading Guide 2022

October 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

Fall Book Haul